Today’s Marketing Automation technologies give us unprecedented visibility into who are visiting our websites and what they are looking at, all in real-time. Marketers and Salespeople leveraging these new demand generation technologies face an interesting new question though: To pounce or not to pounce?
Just because we might know certain leads are currently visiting our websites and engaging with our content, does that mean our Salespeople should call them? And if so, how soon afterwards? I recently had the opportunity to ask this question of Brian Carroll, CEO of InTouch, expert in lead generation solutions and author of the popular book, Lead Generation for the Complex Sale. During a conversation at MarketingSherpa’s B2B Summit 2009 in Boston, here’s what Brian had to say:
“B2B marketers need to manage the use of this technology carefully to ensure they’re helping – not harming – buying experiences. You need to be strategic about it. When used in the right way, this kind of insight is extremely powerful in enabling and accelerating sales conversations. But providing real-time web visitor intelligence to salespeople with no strategy or process around it could prove damaging when used in the wrong way or at the wrong time.
Remember, salespeople have quotas to meet, so their natural inclination will be to ‘pounce’. But we know that during the complex sale, buyers are constantly reflecting on ‘How you sell me is how you will serve me.’ And while you want your organization to appear responsive, you don’t want to appear desperate.
My instinct is to say; in general, when buyers are at an earlier stage in their buying process, getting pounced on with a call from Sales may seem overwhelming. After all, they’re still kicking the tires. But if a known buyer repeatedly visits high-value content on your site (ideally requiring some form of registration), and you’ve dropped them into a relevant nurturing track to keep feeding them information about your company, and you can see they keep showing interest, then it’s more than appropriate to trigger a follow-up by sales in response. The exact decision of timing will come down your customer personas and the type of product that they’re buying from you.”
So there you have it. Whether you decide to ‘pounce’ or ‘pause’, you need to be strategic about how you’ll plan your follow-ups. Here are 4 tips for you to consider as you work through the right approach for your organization:
- Marketing and Sales should work together to develop a web visitor engagement strategy that outlines exactly how Sales will handle follow-ups with website visitors;
- As you develop that strategy, think about how your salespeople could bring something of value to those follow-up interactions (perhaps with an offer not readily available online);
- Along the same lines, consider providing Sales with tested scripts so they are seen as more ‘helpful’ (and not just ‘creepy’!); and,
- When they do follow-up, ensure your salespeople do not make any direct mention of your company’s advanced tracking capabilities (and that they’re calling right now because they can see a prospect is still online!). Rather, Sales should use that insight to have more relevant and tailored conversations based on what content prospects have (or haven’t) consumed.
You can read more on the topic of “Digital Personal Space” in this previous Idea Exchange entry.